Four clever remedies for a leaky sales funnel

Four clever remedies for a leaky sales funnel

Consider: Over three quarters of marketing leads never become customers. Why is that? In part it is because most marketing leads are in the early stages of finding a solution to their problems. In some cases, they may not even know which problems they need to solve.

While your potential customers are busy figuring all this out, they are also juggling competing demands on their budget. Other vendors are turning their heads. They leak out of your sales funnel, never to be heard from again.

Nurturing campaigns are a powerful technique to plug the leaks. By cultivating potential buyers with meaningful content, you stay top of mind and continue to build trust. The most effective nurture content anticipates buyers’ questions and creates urgency, helping you accelerate marketing leads down the buying path. As a result, research shows that nurtured leads close faster and ultimately make 47% bigger purchases.

Inspiring nurture campaigns you can try right now

Nurture strategies vary depending on how far along leads have progressed in your sales cycle and how much information you can gather on their interests. The stellar examples below cover four common marketing scenarios:

1.Welcome campaign

This foundational campaign flow nurtures fresh entrants to your database (for example, people who subscribe to your blog or newsletter). These folks are likely early stage tire-kickers. This is your chance to engage them on a more personal level and introduce them to your story.

One company that does this with panache is HelpScout. Upon subscribing to their newsletter, you receive the email below. This email – the first of several – starts to build a relationship and lets you know what to expect from HelpScout. (Fair warning: you’ll have to scroll for a bit).

HelpScout email large

2. Topic of interest

If you have a marketing automation solution like HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, or Eloqua, you have the ability to track the activities users take on your website and present them with additional content that reflects their interests. Visits to specific pages or downloads become “triggers” to launch a flow of content related to a specific type of product, industry, or problem.

One of the most successful triggers I have found is visitor search activity. TANDBERG’s marketing team proved this concept with a campaign focused on an immersive video conferencing product, TelePresence. By targeting leads that had used the word “TelePresence” in either search engines or internal site search, the team achieved 10x the typical email click through rate – and 50% of campaign targets filled out a form to access content.

TANDBERG telepresence email

3. Free trial flow

Free trials are top performing campaigns for many companies, such as software applications or online services. People who take free trials have already shown interest in a product and have had the opportunity to see it in all its glory.

And yet… 

Up to 85% of trial takers will never become paying customers. A significant portion of people who sign up for a free trial never even use the product!

It’s up to you to keep the buyer interested. During the time period of a free trial, I suggest sending two to four emails that continually remind the trial takers of their opportunity and guide them back. For example, your emails could include:

  • How-to guidance on using product features. A video capture tool like Jing could help you create a little video to demonstrate the steps to follow.
  • An inspiring story – Encourage trial takers by giving them examples of how to use the trial in their daily lives. Once users experience the product in action they are more likely to be hooked.

An excellent example of free trial nurturing is Canva for Work, a tool that helps organizations create presentations and social media graphics. A few days after receiving a trial registration, Canva sends the following:

Canvas for Work trial email

If free trials are your thing and you are looking for more examples, check out this list of trial conversion techniques developed by Unbounce.

4. Reawakening campaign

It’s not only early stage leads that suddenly go “dark.” Some leads are hot and heavy for a time, downloading web content, signing up for trials, even meeting with a salesperson. All the signals say they are interested. Then, they stop answering calls.

What went wrong? Maybe they switched jobs. Maybe they went on vacation. Maybe they chose another solution?

Or, maybe they just got stuck somewhere in your sales process. It’s possible that the sales team was busy working on other opportunities and these leads ended up at the bottom of the pile.

Analyzing later stage leads that have been stuck in your sales cycle for much longer than the typical amount of time can generate a target list for a reawakening campaign.

Well-crafted outreach may help to shake these “sleeping” leads awake. Focus on what has changed while they were napping, with subject lines like:

  • We’re trying a different approach about X
  • Things have changed here at Y since you last tried us out

And, if they STILL don’t respond…

  • We haven’t heard back from you so we’re saying goodbye

Give these leads a final shake and if they don’t re-engage, it’s time to remove them from your sales funnel.

Now it’s your turn

Inspired to try a nurture campaign as part of your customer engagement strategy?  Let us know how we can help keep your marketing leads moving along the path to purchase.